grief, motherhood

The Story of a girl and her White Fluffy Dog

A wise person had once told the girl, “The road to true love is never easy.”  And, they were right.  It hadn’t been easy.  The girl didn’t mind because she was happily in love with her Buckeye.  Their relationship was finally everything she knew it could be and then some.  They had moved in together and lived across from Wrigley Field.  Pure magic.

Sometimes, at night, as the girl waited for her handsome Buckeye to come home after a long day’s work and an even longer commute, she would get a little bit lonely.  She thought about how to remedy this and knowing her Buckeye’s career path was only gearing up, she decided to get a dog.  She had never had a dog in her whole life.  The great thing about being a grown-up is that if you want a dog, you get to have a dog.  The girl was not impulsive in nature so she researched and pondered and then researched and pondered some more.  Eventually she decided she wanted a Bichon Frise because small, white and fluffy seemed like perfection to her.  On the day she drove to a suburb to meet a slew of Bichons, she felt very confident ‘her dog’ would find her.  And, she did.

At first the girl thought she wanted a boy and that’s all she focused on.  She started to get frustrated with how energetic and bitey they all were and wondered if she would leave empty-handed.  Instead, she opened up her expectations and picked up the first female she could find.

It was love at first sight.

The girl couldn’t explain it but this sweet little Bichon-Poodle was meant to be hers.  She was gentle and loving.  She weighed a whopping 3.2 pounds.  She was perfect.

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The girl brought her home and their adventure began.  It wasn’t always easy or smooth, but the girl quickly forgave her White Fluffy Dog because, well, she was white and fluffy.  She was magic.

Five months after the White Fluffy Dog came into her life, the girl had to go out of town.  She left for a few days and put the White Fluffy Dog’s care into the hands of her Buckeye.  She didn’t think twice about it before she left but she should have.  Once she returned she realized something had changed.  Her White Fluffy Dog still loved her, but now, she loved the Buckeye even more.  At times this would frustrate the girl because she wanted to be loved best, but she got over it.  This dramatic shift in loyalty helped a lot when the girl became a mom.  She was so focused on raising her young Buckeyes, she was grateful that the White Fluffy Dog had the Buckeye to look out for her.  It also helped that the White Fluffy Dog adored the little Buckeyes.  She loved babies, pacifiers, bottles and diapers.  She was always gentle with the little Buckeyes and over the years, tolerated a lot of hands-on rough and tumble play with them.  She adjusted to being a big sister with great aplomb.

 

Life changed drastically when the Littlest Buckeye turned 18 months old.  At this time the girl learned he was severely allergic to the White Fluffy Dog.  As much as the girl loved her White Fluffy Dog, she did what she had to.  The White Fluffy Dog went to live with her Buckeye’s parents.  The White Fluffy Dog lived with them for five long years (extremely long if you ask the Buckeye’s father).

As the LB grew and changed so did his immune system.  On a whim when he was seven, the girl decided to have him tested yet again for his dog allergy.  She almost didn’t believe the results.  Her White Fluffy Dog could come home.  It was magic all over again.

Having her White Fluffy Dog again brought wholeness to the girl’s heart.  The girl could handle all of her White Fluffy Dog’s quirks because of this wholeness.  Yes, the White Fluffy Dog had entered her golden years and was certainly set in her ways, but she was still magic.  She still was that same dog that ran towards you when you were hurting, sick or broken.  If the girl was sad, her White Fluffy Dog would lay down next to her.  The White Fluffy Dog never ran when faced with distress, rather this is when she shined.  There are no words to convey what this meant to the girl.  ‘Everything’ is a good one to start with.  It pretty much meant everything to the girl.

The girl had more time for her White Fluffy Dog as her little Buckeyes weren’t so little.  She walked her every day.  The girl loved these walks.  The girl fed her, brushed her and made sure she had her medicine.  While the White Fluffy Dog still loved the Buckeye the best, she appreciated all the love and care the girl showed her.  She followed the girl everywhere.  The magic continued…until it didn’t.

The White Fluffy Dog had lived 13.5 well-loved years when her body finally started to give out.  The girl was heartbroken.  The day came that the girl and her family had to say goodbye to the White Fluffy Dog.  She had cancer and was bleeding internally.  The White Fluffy Dog was ready to go.  When the White Fluffy Dog’s last moments arrived, the girl bravely held her in her arms.  The girl reasoned they had started out together, that it was only fitting that they were together when it ended.

The space the White Fluffy Dog has left in the girl’s home is enormous.  It is quiet in a way that is unsettling.  The girl now walks around with a White Fluffy hole in her heart.  Her only comfort is knowing that love eventually prevails.

After all, she learned this lesson from the best…

 

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family, motherhood

Greatest Hits (Happy Holidays 2015)

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I don’t know how you top going to the National Championship to see the Buckeyes win in 2015.  It was a spontaneous January trip to Dallas that fortunately ended in a Buckeye victory.  The whole of it was as special as the individual parts.  For Mom, sharing it as a family was the icing on the cake.  To read more, click here:

 The Story of a girl and her Buckeye

Losing a loved one not only changes who you are, it sometimes changes your ability to enjoy the things you used to love.  After losing my mom in 2009, I lost my passion for watching baseball. She was my partner in crime.  Thankfully after years and years of healing, the time to return to baseball finally felt right.  Thank you to the Cubs’ organization for making this season the best in ages.  Thank you especially for beating the Cardinals in the NLDS.  That pretty much sealed the fate of my boys’ allegiance forever.  Seriously, thank you!   To read more, click here:

The Story of a girl and her Buckeye (The Prequel)

Mad Dog and I recently celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.  Our relationship has weathered life’s ups and downs and above all else, we have maintained an underlying friendship.  He still makes me laugh more than anyone. He still is, in my opinion, ridiculously handsome which is also a plus.  But, the reason I love him so very much is because he loves the real me.  When I struggle with self-acceptance and doubt, he never judges.  When I say things in frustrated despair like, “Why can’t I just be normal?”  He responds with, “Full Speed isn’t ‘normal’, T.Puzzle isn’t ‘normal’ and I’m not ‘normal’.  Just be you.  Once you learn to be comfortable being you, things will fall into place.”  A better response I could not imagine.  Thank you, Mad Dog.  To read more, click here:

 True Love’s Cup

Parenting is hard.  I’ve seen enough and learned enough that the only surety is your ability to accept whatever is in front of you.  This year my boys finally no longer have to patch their eyes for amblyopia (lesser vision in one eye).  This all started when Full Speed was twenty months old.  He recently turned 11.  That’s a long time in kid years.  Again and again my boys and their vision challenges have taught me to accept what I can’t control.  That is so hard to do, but eventually, it’s all that remains.  To read more, click here:

 Eye Am Thankful

I started this blog when my boys were little.  I wrote it to cope.  If you ever had a chance to be around them when they were small, you would understand that my coping skills were challenged relentlessly.  Through the years we’ve all grown.  They continue to evolve.  I’m most grateful for the evolution of who-they-really-are.  They have this core of intangible awesomeness.  We all have it and sometimes the only person who can see it is your mother.  I see it.  They have it.  And, they are awesome.  Let me clarify, they are awesome but they are not perfect.  They back talk and fight.  They have a really hard time following directions, even super-detailed step-by-step directions.  They took FOREVER to potty-train, ride their bikes and tie their shoes.  Full Speed especially didn’t understand my distress over the shoe-tying.  I mean, he would just pay someone to tie them for him once he made it to the NFL anyway, so what was the big deal?   Life is too complicated to only focus on achievements (or lack thereof).  Achievements are a dime a dozen.  They come, they go and in the end, they aren’t really all that important.  That core of awesomeness, it is there, even if your kid gets an ‘F’ on a test (true story, it happens).  Instead, spend your time being present and consciously try to catch a glimpse of their awesomeness.  When you do, it is the best feeling in the world.  It is better than straight ‘As’, four hundred touchdowns or winning a spelling bee. It is Pure Love.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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children, humor, motherhood

Beating the System

Recently, I’ve taken a more laissez-faire approach to parenting.  I’m trying to instill personal responsibility in my boys.  For instance, they need to make their beds each day, and if they don’t, they will get an earlier bedtime.  I don’t fuss about it, it just is.  Either you want the later bedtime or you don’t.  Your bed will show me.

Full Speed decided to bypass this system.  When Mad Dog and I turn in for the night, it is part of Mad Dog’s ritual to check on the boys and make sure they are tucked in and comfortably asleep.  What did he find?  Full Speed lying on top of his perfectly made bed curled in a little ball for warmth.  You technically never have to make your bed if you never use it.  Nice try, but get yourself under those covers.

reenactment of what it looks like to sleep on top of covers
reenactment of what it looks like to sleep on top of covers

Where does this slyness come from you may wonder?  Well, as I walked into my formal living room, what caught my eye but this nifty little piece of decorating…

Buckeye Shoes, REALLY??
Buckeye Shoes, REALLY??

When I agreed to letting more Buckeye memorabilia creep into the corners of our home, I’m pretty sure gym shoes were not anywhere on my radar.  But technically, I never said out loud, “Please, no athletic shoes as part of the decor.”

I.

Can’t.

Win.

children, humor, motherhood

Buckets of Fun

As a wife and mother, I have learned to pick my battles.  Over the years I have honed what is worth fighting for and what is not worth the effort.  I have even gone so far as to fully embrace the Buckeyedom that envelops my family’s life.  Ultimately, I’m more concerned about my family as a unit than what team we cheer for (however, please note, I will be cheering for the Illini in the Big Ten basketball tournament).

Being immersed in the Buckeye culture, I’ve come to look forward to our annual Buckeye Cruise for Cancer (over 2 million raised this cruise for the Urban & Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research).  This was our eighth Buckeye cruise and the first time we decided to take the boys.  It happily coincided with a National Championship win.  We all had a blast.

Our Cruise Day Arrival

Our cruise day arrival

Boys meeting Anthony Schlegel, a Buckeyes’ Strength and Conditioning Coach

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Family pic with the National Trophy

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Full Speed politely dancing with me…I love this kid!

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T.Puzzle’s awesome balloon hat from Cozumel, Mexico…love that smile!

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At the Cozumel dock

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Upon our return, as I’ve already allowed some Buckeye decor into my home, I wasn’t all that excited to add more helmets and footballs signed by who-knows-what.  In my opinion, we have plenty.  Then, it all came down to a bucket.  Why on earth did Mad Dog need to bring home a bucket from the cruise?  Keep in mind, it was used poolside to hold beer.  Yes, that makes it sound more attractive, right?  It’s not.  It’s a bucket.

It’s.

A.

BUCKET.

Mad Dog passionately insisted we HAD to bring the bucket with us.  So what if it advertises a beer we don’t drink?  Who cares that we don’t really need it for really anything at all?  The only thing that matters is that it has a Buckeye logo on it.  That is it.  That is all.

I didn’t fight it.  The bucket is home.

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Now, if it was a Downton Abbey bucket, then, it would be amazing AND completely necessary!

children, family, gratitude, motherhood, Ohio State Football

The Story of a girl and her Buckeye

This is the story of a midwestern girl. She grew up in a rural town and never thought much beyond the outskirts of the farmlands that surrounded her. On a whim post-graduate school, she moved to Chicago. There, she met a Northwestern matriculating Buckeye. She didn’t think much of football but she did think much of the Buckeye. Quickly, she fell in love. Not so quickly, he did too.

Their romance wasn’t always a fairytale. No matter, the girl followed her heart again and again. On her convoluted path to finding everlasting love with this most handsomest of Buckeyes, she journeyed to Arizona with him to her first Ohio State National Championship game. As fate would have it, they won in a spectacular double overtime fashion.

January 3, 2002  Final Score:  Buckeyes 31, Hurricanes 24 (the girl still has the sweatshirt which she stole from her Buckeye)
January 3, 2002
Final Score: Buckeyes 31, Hurricanes 24
(the girl still has the sweatshirt which she stole from her Buckeye)

 

This prompted the Buckeye to believe in miracles.

He got over himself finally and proposed to the girl.

She said yes.

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She married her Buckeye at Disney World that same year.

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She didn’t even mind when Mickey had to show some Buckeye spirit.  I mean, she was finally married after all.  She was in a generous mood.

O-H-I-O

O-H-I-O

 

Two, awesome little Buckeyes soon followed. Understanding that her Beloved bled scarlet and gray, the girl agreed to raise their family strictly Buckeye.

the girl, her Buckeye and their first baby Buckeye
the girl, her Buckeye and their first baby Buckeye

 

Little Buckeye #2
Little Buckeye #2

 

Two more National Championships followed. The girl didn’t attend either as she had her little Buckeyes to care for and tickets for such events are a rarity. Both of these ended in heartbreaking losses. Her Buckeye made it to both of these. He likes to pretend he never went as both games stir painful memories for him.

Flash forward to present day and the Buckeyes had done it again. They were ready to take on the Oregon Ducks for the National Title. The girl hoped and prayed that somehow her Buckeye would get to go.

The Wednesday before the game the Buckeye called the girl.

“Are you sitting down?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“We have four tickets to the game.”

“What! FOUR?”

And, that’s when this story starts getting really, really good.

The Buckeye and the girl packed up their little Buckeyes and hit the road. So what if it was 30 hours round trip? This was the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

As the weekend unfolded, the anxiety of the pending game was almost too much for the girl to take. She tried to keep her focus on being grateful to spend this adventure with her 3 favorite boys regardless of the game’s outcome. It wasn’t always easy.

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Finally, game day arrived. As this little family made their way into the enormous stadium, nerves were at an all-time high. There were Buckeyes EVERYWHERE. It was like they were attending a home game at the ‘Shoe.  The band was impeccable, the crowd was electric, the jumbotron was massive,….it was AWESOME.

As the game commenced and the Ducks methodically marched down the field and scored on their first possession, the littlest Buckeye burst into tears. As the waterworks flowed, his heart lost its ability to believe in a Buckeye victory.

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The Buckeyes quickly answered and spirits were lifted instantly but remained precarious until solidly into the second half.

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As the fourth quarter began to dwindle, the girl couldn’t believe that she was there. That the Buckeyes were going to win. Her Buckeye was joyous. Her little Buckeyes rejoiced. The whole stadium erupted as the final seconds ticked away.

She was there.

With them.

Celebrating a victory.

Wow.

A once in a lifetime moment.

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And, yes, she’d marry her Buckeye all over again.

 

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See you next year!

 

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THE END